- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Gear and Tech
- Published: October 17, 2013
Ask Dave Tragethon how 2012-13 went for total visits to Mt. Hood Meadows, and he'll tell you it was just average. Ask him about the launch of the new RFID tracking system at Meadows and he brightens up: "Awesome!"
"Two years ago our biggest guest complaint had to do with having to show your lift pass every time you got on the lift," says Tragethon, executive director of sales, marketing and communications for Meadows. "That complaint has disappeared. I have to give full credit to our IT department for thinking this through."
After a dozen years of planning Meadows launched an RFID tracking system last winter that enables guests to board lifts without pausing and renew season passes without getting their pictures taken. It will probably lead to more lift pass options such as lower-price tickets for riding only certain lifts. The system also allows you to track your turns in detail all over the resort.
That detail will get even more granular this winter as a result of the new partnership between Meadows and the GPS geniuses at AlpineReplay. Now you will be able to measure not only your vertical feet and top speed, but also your calories burned and even the distance and height of your jumps. You'll also be able to share the highlights of your day through social media.
"You'll be able to watch an avatar re-run of all your runs up here," says Tragethon.
It's all part of the explosion of mountain apps, which become better and more popular every season. It is amazing what you can get for 99 cents these days. AlpineReplay's biggest competitor, Ski Tracks, has gotten excellent reviews for its most recent versions, and a new app called Ski Nation recently launched with support from super shredders including Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Sammy Carlson and Hannah Kearney.
These mountain apps work at resorts all over the place, including Skibowl, Timberline and Bachelor. All you need to do is remember to turn them on when you catch that first ride up the chair. But by officially partnering with AlpineReplay, Meadows is making a move to ride a wave that will only get bigger with time, as smartphones become as commonplace on Mount Hood as gloves. It also helps that Meadows recently increased its bandwidth by a factor of 20 by installing a new fiber optic line. That will result in more Wi-Fi hotspots that work better.
So what's your favorite mountain app?
What do you think will be the next big thing?